A mum says her son’s birthday trip to Alton Towers was ruined when he was refused from one of the rollercoasters.
Mason Gittens, who has cerebral palsy , was told he wasn’t allowed on a ride because he couldn’t walk, but his mother says the incident left him in tears.
Nikki Gittens, 40, claimed "they’re basically saying he is ‘too disabled’ to go on," as she argued he has never been stopped from going on the biggest rollercoasters in the past.
Mason is currently staying at the Splash Landings onsite hotel for a £700 four-day break with his family to celebrate his 15th birthday.
Described as a "thrill-seeker" by his mum, he has visited the Staffordshire theme park every year for the past eight years.
Last year he rode the Thirteen rollercoaster – the world’s first freefall drop coaster – 16 times in three days, the Hull Daily Mail reports.
But his mum said he was left devastated on Tuesday morning when he tried to get on the new Wicker Man rollercoaster and was told that unless he can walk, he wasn’t allowed to go on it.
Mrs Gittens, 40, said: "Mason has never been able to walk, but we have never ever had a problem at Alton Towers before.
"My husband Steve lifts him onto the ride, but when we tried to get on the Wicker Man the guy said ‘if you can’t walk, you can’t go on’ – they’re basically saying he is ‘too disabled’ to go on because he can’t walk.
"We spoke to the director of operations who said if the rollercoaster was to break down the only way he could get off would be to get down some steps, so he would have to be able to walk.
"So I said ‘OK, but can you explain why we are allowed to go on the cable cars from one part of park to another that are on a wire 100ft in the air, what would happen if they broke down?’ And he couldn’t answer me.
"He isn’t allowed on any big rollercoasters but is allowed on the Runaway Mine Train, so what’s the difference?
"Mason has been on all the big rollercoasters in Florida without a problem, he has been on them all at Alton Towers numerous times, so we don’t understand why it’s a problem now.
"As my husband said, ‘at the end of the day I’m the person lifting him on and off then that’s my decision and it’s down to me’. No one can answer us as to why it’s different now."
Mrs Gittens said Mason is currently sat in the hotel room and now does not want to go into the park.
She said his entire family birthday break he had been looking forward to has been ruined.
"Just because his legs don’t work it doesn’t mean he’s stupid. We had to explain to him why he couldn’t go on, but he couldn’t grasp why because he has always been allowed on," she said.
"We had a 20 minute crying session when he realised. He’s now just sat in his room in his wheelchair, he wants to go home.
"I said to the guy ‘it’s not your fault that Mason is disabled but it’s not his fault either. If two people wake up with cerebral palsy you’re telling me that if one of them can walk and the other can’t then only one can go on? How is that fair?’
"They’ve told me he can go on other things, but he’s 15, he doesn’t want to go into Cbeebies Land."
Mrs Gittens has already been contacted by a member of staff from customer relations.
She said: "I got a phone call from a guy at customer relations who said ‘let me buy your tea’, but we’re not about that, we are not one of these families who think the world owes us a favour because we have a disabled child.
"We all work and we save hard and we pay for what we do with our children, we are not trying to get free stuff.
"They’re not getting where I’m coming from.
"I said ‘I know for a fact as soon as you’ve dealt with me you’re just going to put me down as one of those people who wants free meals’, I don’t want balloons, that’s not what it’s about, they need to understand that from a parental point of my child has not changed, their policies have changed but they cannot tell me why."
Alton Towers has said they cannot comment on why Mason has previously been allowed on the rides because the policy has not changed.
A spokeswomen told the Hull Daily Mail: "The policy has not changed, the policy states that if you can’t walk at least a short distance we can’t safely allow you on the ride because if it needed to be evacuated you need to be able to walk off.
"This is something that is stipulated by the ride manufacturers for health and safety reasons, so we couldn’t allow someone to go on if we had any concerns over how they might safely evacuate the ride. Health and safety is an absolute priority.
"We understand it is disappointing for the family if they were not aware of these rules and I know the guest services team have been working hard with them to make sure they have an amazing stay and that their son can do everything that he is safely able to do."
Mirror Online has also contacted Alton Towers for any further comment.
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